Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today's Walk.

Today, my dog, Jeeves, peed on my foot.

Luckily, I was standing right next to Fall Creek, so I screamed at him, he scowled, then I ran into the creek, shoes and all.

Once, he peed on Barnaby's head. Barnaby was in the middle of his own micturation and Jeeves just walked up, lifted his leg over Barnaby's head and peed.

Barnaby moved on, as one would expect.

On my way back from the creek, I walked past the Tiny House. It's a house at the end of our street that consists of a front room, a tiny bedroom and in the mudroom at the back, the tiniest kitchen I've ever seen*. A strange couple lives there, they don't speak the same language, but they are involved because I saw her professing her love to him one morning from the front steps of the house. She sounded like Marta from Arrested Development. The guy looks like a reimagining of the Dude, if the Dude listened to Whitesnake instead of CCR. His partner is a tiny brown woman who looks about 25 years younger than him.

Today, there were 8 full garbage bags outside their house. Which seemed SO WEIRD. I mean, 8 bags of garbage from a house the size of an average garage seems excessive. Then I realised the bags were full of leaves.

They probably aren't anywhere near as weird as I think they are. 

*I'm not a creepy stalker (at least not in this regard) - it was on the market when we were looking for a place to buy. It was some ungodly amount of money considering the fact that it needs a lot of work and it's an absurdly tiny house.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Celeriac Puree, 2 ways.

I made a yummy two dish meal component the other day: celeriac mushroom puree. I turned it into pasta sauce the first day and then 2 days later, it was delicious soup.

2 celeriac roots, cubed
2 small onions (or 1 large...) sliced
~1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
white pepper
olive oil

Toss the onions in a pan (I used my trusty 12" cast iron) with the (heated) olive oil on medium-low. Once they have started to soften, add the celeriac. I turn the heat up a little bit, but not too much. The point is a long, low cook with occasional stirring to get everything sweet and caramelly.

While this is happening, rehydrate the mushrooms. Put them in a bowl and pour enough hot water over them to cover.

Once the celeriac has started to brown up a bit, you can add a bit of water and cover - I did this instead of parboiling, just to make sure it was getting cooked all the way through. The water also helped deglaze the pan, next time, I might try stock or white wine.

When the celeriac is done getting very nearly close to done (everything should be a nice goldeny brown colour and the celeriac should be soft and break apart easily), drain the mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Put the liquid, along with the celeriac and onion mixture into a blender and puree. You may need to add water.

Return the puree to your pot, slice up the mushrooms and toss them in with the puree. Flavour, to taste, with white pepper and salt.

For pasta sauce, I made a roux, included some nutritional yeast with the flour and added my delicious puree. Remember to cook it to a point where it is less thick than you want it as as soon as it starts to cool, it will thicken up.

For soup, I melted several cubes of leek stock that I made and froze a few weeks ago and added the puree. Simple, quick and delicious, we had it with yummy Gary's Bread (a sort of whole wheat sour dough made from locally grown and milled flour) from Wide Awake Bakery.

begin rant

If one more person takes an ordinary, completely normal statement that I make and attributes it to my being pregnant, I will have to find some further measure to take besides just complaining about it here.

The balcony smells like squirrel pee because a squirrel spent the winter hibernating in it, not because I can smell it more easily now that I am pregnant. Homemade cheese on homemade bread is something I would enjoy whether or not I am currently gestating a foetus. I am vacuuming/folding laundry/mopping the floor/tidying up/doing dishes/scrubbing my toilet because I am presumably, by most cultural measures, an adult and adults clean their houses and non-pregnant adults can do this without it being called "nesting" - why can't I?

/rant over

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cutting spending

Ryan and I are trying to spend less money. We went to the grocery store last week and had a conversation in the car that went like this:

"I'm going to stop getting my hair cut at that expensive salon."

"Yeah. We should probably cancel cable."

"Also, those gym memberships - we never go anyway."

"I'm going to stop buying fancy cleaning products and just start using old rags, baking soda and vinegar."

"We should start eating at home more often and making our meals from scratch."

"No more clothes shopping sprees!"

"I'll start walking to work and bringing my lunch"

The thing is, we were laughing, because we don't do* any of these things anyway but it's also kind of sad, because I've been racking my brain trying to come up with things we can cancel or stop buying or whatever and I've not been able to come up with much.

One thing we actually did was combine our mobile phone plans - a big commitment, I know, but we felt we were ready. It's about $25/month difference. I've also started tracking our grocery store expenditures. I know we could spend less on certain items, but some things, I'd rather compromise on quantity than quality. For example: I'd rather buy less yoghurt or milk from the local dairies than buy more of the mass produced stuff. 

Of course "treats" get removed from the shopping list - things like ginger beer and ice cream. I'm attempting to get better at making them myself: last week, I made raspberry honey black tea coconut milk sorbet/ice cream (the raspberries were ones we picked last summer - the advantage to not working is that one has time to make sorbet without an ice cream maker!) and yesterday, Ryan used up some sad little lemons and made us some lemonade. 

*or already do? The point is, I haven't had my hair professionally cut since my wedding, I've never belonged to a gym, Ryan already packs a lunch and walks, I've only bought new clothes in the last year because I needed maternity pants in order to be able to leave the house, we don't even own a television much less pay for cable, I have been using vinegar and baking soda to clean for years and neither of us would know how to eat if we didn't cook our own food.